Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
Name: Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
Price (RRP): $3145
Blackmagic is an Australian digital cinema company that makes digital movie cameras, video production tools and editing software. It’s always nice to see a local company do well on a global scale, and Blackmagic is very respected across the industry for its innovation as well as making affordable products. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera is no exception, raising eyebrows with its high-end cinema specs and surprisingly low price tag.
What is it?
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a compact, hand-held ‘digital film’ camera. It’s made for budget-conscious cinematographers and filmmakers who want to create that ‘Hollywood’ film look that would normally require some very expensive gear.
It actually resembles a DSLR stills shooter more than a film camera, and comes in two flavours – 4K and 6K. The 4K is slightly more compact, comes with a 4K 4/3rds sensor and MFT lens mount. The 6K version has a larger Super 35 sensor that cranks out 6K or 6,144 x 3,456 resolution recordings – and we’ll be looking at this model for our review.
What’s in the box?
- Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
- Lens turret dust cap
- Camera strap
- 30W power supply with locking connector and international adapters
- LP‑E6 battery
- Welcome booklet
- DaVinci Resolve Studio activation key
Lens and light
The 6K model has a Canon EF lens mount rather than the MFT on the 4K model, so it’s designed to use full-frame photographic lenses like the ones we used, shown below. This helps create shallow depth of field effects with lovely bokeh. A 6K sensor also provides latitude to zoom in and re-frame your shots in post, as there’s so much resolution to work with. So, for example, you can take a wide shot and turn it into a close-up while retaining quite a bit of sharpness and detail.
Also impressive is the camera’s light sensitivity. The Pocket Cinema Camera features dual gain ISO up to 25,600 so it can shoot in very low light with minimal noise or ‘grain’. While most of our shoots were in daylight or lit conditions, we did check out a few night shots and were impressed with how well it managed to capture detail at 3200 ISO with no perceptible graininess.
The Pocket Cinema 6K has 13 stops of dynamic range on tap, including High Dynamic Range support. This gave us lots of versatility to capture detail in a range of different lighting conditions. For example, we shot an indoor interview next to a large window, and didn’t need to blast the subject with fill light in order to keep the world outside from blowing out to white. It’s good also to see DCI-P3 colour-space support too.
In terms of colour science, Blackmagic makes one of the most popular pro colour grading tools in the industry – DiVinci Resolve – so it’s no surprise that the Pocket Cinema Camera’s colours are great as well. (A copy of DiVinci Resolve Studio is included in the box too.) Colours feel natural, skin tones are realistic, and the look is reminiscent of my Canon 5D Mark III.
Blackmagic uses the same Gen 4 Colour Science from its pro-grade URSA Mini Pro G2 camera, so you’re getting features like a 12-bit gamma curve for highlights and shadows, along with the Blackmagic RAW image codec for post-production grading.
To create a visual style, you can load custom LUTS (Lookup Tables) and see the effect via the monitor. There are some built in 3D LUTs included as well, and you can even set the camera to bake the LUTS to the final files or otherwise set it to monitor-only mode.
For some great examples of the types of looks created by the Pocket Cinema Camera, check out Blackmagic’s Gallery here.
6K on tap
The best part about this camera is the creative filming options it gives you. You can go full 6K at 50 fps with a 16:9 aspect ratio, or 6K at 60 fps in 2.4:1 and 5.7K at 60fps in 17:9. There is also 4K DCI and Ultra HD at 60fps and even an anamorphic 6:5 aspect using anamorphic lenses in 3.7K at 60fps. For slow-motion, a 120 fps mode is available at 2.8K in 17:9 and full HD in 16:9.
Straight-to-post-production file formats are a real time-saver too. You can use the 12-bit Blackmagic RAW for 5.7 and 6K modes, or choose the 10-bit AppleProRes for 4K and lower. We found that HD, 25fps, ProRes 4.2.2 produced a great result, however the Blackmagic RAW is the real winner with amazing colour grading potential and it’s super-quick to use in Adobe Premiere.
Focus and stabilisation
As this is a ‘cinema’ camera, we didn’t expect to see a very advanced auto-focus system. The camera can auto-focus, provided that it’s supported by the lens, and you can press the focus button or half-shutter to lock it in. Double check your focus via the dedicated Zoom button or focus indicator overlay. Our Canon EF lenses had their own image stabilisation, which can come in handy as there isn’t an IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) system to supplement this.
Recording and storage
The Pocket Cinema Camera’s footage storage options are fantastic. You can use standard SD cards when shooting in high def or move up to UHS-II SD cards and CFast 2.0 media for 4K and 6K. Our favourite option by far was recording straight to SSD via the USB-C connector. This makes it so easy to edit on the fly or check footage by simply plugging the SSD drive into a USB-C equipped laptop.